Hey everyone. This is Matt from IC3D and I am going to show you how to level your build plate on an older style makerbot platform.
With the FDM 3D printing process it is very important that your build plate is nice and level for each print. In addition, we want to make sure we set the build plate just the right distance away from the printing nozzle so that we get a good stick on the first printing layer. This is your best tool to combat part warping, and too large of a distance from bed to nozzle will lead to warping.
Today I have a flashforge creator, which is a very common makerbot clone.
These machines use a leveling sequence in which they move the nozzle to five different places on the build plate. For each stop we will want to set the correct bed distance to the nozzle. This is done by using a standard piece of printer paper. The thickness of the paper is important, as we are using it to set a distance. Do not use an extra thick piece of paper.
Once we have the paper between the nozzle and the bed, we will turn the adjustment screws under the bed to raise and lower the bed. Loosening a screw will raise the corner of the bed while tightening will lower the corner of the bed. At each adjustment position, we are only really concerned with the two screws that are closest to the nozzle.
The finial middle position will be used to fine tune your adjustments. Sometimes the middle of the build plate will be higher or lower than the sides of the build plate. This is an indication that your build plate is not very flat, or that you may want to redo the sequence.
If you have two extruders it can be helpful to rotate the paper slightly side to side during the each adjustment point. This will help you determine if one side is slightly higher than the other.
When adjusting the gap between the nozzle and the build plate, I like to feel a light drag when I pull on the paper. This is something that you can adjust for each print. If you are having warping issues, you may want to push the bed even closer to the nozzle. Keep in mind that this will slightly alter the Z height of your part, but will improve your first layer squish. If you push the nozzle too close, it will hit the bed, possibly messing up your kapton tape, or scratching your build plate. This can also cause jamming as the extruder will have a harder time pressing filament out of the nozzle.